A Star Is Born

 

lead_720_405I loved it!! It was so fucking SAD though. I knew it was a remake (of a remake!) but didn’t know really anything about the story/what it was about.

Don’t keep reading if you don’t like or want spoilers!

SO very generally, Lady Gaga (Ally) is a cater waiter with her best friend (Anthony Ramos) and he also runs a monthly drag show where she sings in French. In a literal turn (right turn to be exact) of fate, a famous alcoholic musician (Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine) stops in and gets a drink and ends up seeing Ally perform. They connect (she splays out on the bar in front of him and stares unblinkingly into his eyes) and her friend makes him stay after to meet her.

They have a whirlwind night where she punches someone in the face then sings to him in a parking lot, and he invites her to his show but she turns it down saying she has to go to work and sleep (very reasonable). While walking away from the car, we get the very memed portion of the film where he’s like, “Hey!” then after she turns around he’s like, “I just wanted to get one more look at you” and she runs her hand along her nose.

Once she gets back inside her home we get a better feel for the rest of her life. Her dad also wanted to be a singer but never made it, and became embittered about the state of “Hollywood/the Business” and how it’s not really about talent, but about looks and charisma. This clearly hurts Ally, and it seems like she hears it as, “you’re not beautiful enough to succeed.”

Then she goes to work but her boss is a dick, (go figure!!!) so she quits and gives into the chauffeur who was hired by Jack and has been following her around for like 10 hours now, and she and her BFF go to the show.

They get there right during the performance and he invites her on stage to sing the song she sang in the parking lot. He has arranged it and is gonna do it ‘with or without’ her. So-let’s pause here for a minute. This worked out fine, and I’m sure a lot of people were like, “aw!!” but this annoyed me–if anyone did this to me (took something I created and shared privately, then did their own thing with it without my input/telling me, then was gonna perform it on a huge public platform without my consent) I would be very angry. But it worked for her-some people just need a “push,” idk, so she goes on stage with him and sings her part (it’s a duet now, lol) and guess what, she’s talented and amazing and it goes great.

Also someone recorded it and put it in YouTube and it is rackin’ up the views. (Probably the funniest scene in the whole movie to me was when her dad and his friends are like, “And this number is how many people have seen it-how they know that?” Then every time a new person comes in they’re like, “Did you know this is how many people have seen it?” very cute). Jack invites her on tour with him and she sings songs she’s written and they duet, etc. etc. It’s going great!

At some point in the tour a famous manager (this is code for evil!!!!) comes up to her and is like, “I think you’re great, we wanna sign you.” She tells Jackson and he smashes a pie in her face, which again, to me this is rude as hell!!! I thought this was incredibly disrespectful but she seemed ok with it?? Hard to tell because she was joking around like, “You jealous bastard” but then did this thing where she made him fall over into a wall because he was drunk? Hard to read tone there. I hated it in my core, but I’m not dating him!

So she’s signed, and surprise! They have *ideas* about how to make her more marketable as an artist. She pushes back but still does a lot of them, like they want her to go blonde and she goes red (or actually like a Vitamin C orange but u know), and they want her to do choreo and she does but she loses the dancers, that kind of thing. So Ally’s working on her album and releasing singles, etc. ALSO they get married at Dave Chappelle’s house (engaged then married at a church then they go clubbing) and the wedding is pretty and they give Jackson Maine black friends so you know he’s the good kind of Southern.

Ally gets SNL and nominated for a Grammy, (huge week girl!!!) but as her star rises, his keeps fading. Jack gets demoted from singing at the Grammy’s to playing guitar in the background (shameful!) and other stuff. Also his alcoholism (which has been like another character this whole time!) feels like it’s ramping up as well. He punches his brother (SAM ELLIOTT who will NEVER not be Wade Garrett from Road House to me) in the face which makes his brother quit, and other stuff. Have you ever seen a movie show someone’s alcoholism? It’s that. The worst probably though is a scene in the bathtub where Jack comes in to congratulate Ally on getting nominated for a Grammy and she’s like, “How do you know that?” bc he’s drunk and they haven’t talked and he ends up saying he’s embarassed of her music and she gets mad and says something about his dad and he pops off and calls her ugly and she yells at him to get out.

Sidenote: If a woman is having sex with you, you can’t call her ugly, you simply cannot. 

One of my favorite things about this movie that I haven’t seen other people talk about (I also haven’t read any other reviews, so that might be part of it) is how POP music is talked about & viewed. Like ok, when she’s touring with him and doing songs on the road they’re these kind of soul power ballads, then her singles for her album are mostly pop. A hugely significant scene in the movie is when we see Jack seeing her perform on SNL and she’s singing a song called “Why Did You Do That?” of which some of the lyrics are, “Why do you look so good in those jeans?/Why’d you come around me with an ass like that?” and the chorus goes,

“Why did you do that, do that, do that, do that Do that to me?
Why did you do that, do that, do that, do that
Do that to me?
Why did you do that, do that, do that, do that
Do that to me?
Why did you do that?
Why did you do that?”

and he walks out. To me, it is intentionally asinine to show a difference between the music he encourages in her and the music the label encourages in her but people really like this song and have been playing it at parties recently, and I’m self-aware enough to know that even though I don’t like this particular song I LOVE songs that are essentially the exact same song as this: repetitive and sexual and shallow (which lol, that’s the name of the “good” song actually). But it’s really clear Jack doesn’t respect these new songs (not usually great when your husband doesn’t respect your art) but she’s proud of them and she can write both. I just think people denigrate pop and don’t allow that as a genre it just values different things.

As a smart person who loves pop (never thought I’d type that out) I think the pretension people have around most music is stupid and wrong but in this movie I was like, “Oh but these songs are objectively worse than the other songs” so that’s interesting. His big thing seemed to be ‘what are you SAYING’ that’s what he thought was an artist’s biggest contribution. There was a whole thing with his brother about how he stole his brother’s voice which I didn’t entirely understand but it seemed to be that his brother didn’t have a message and he did and that made it okay. And with Ally he gave her this big speech before he got so drunk he defecated himself on a nationally televised live event where he was like, “People like the way you say things, and you don’t know how long they’ll be listening” and that’s why the SNL thing was so devastating to him because he said that and then her song was about someone’s ass.

A big thing then was that at the Grammy’s he got loaded and she won for Best New Artist and he came on stage with her as she’s giving her speech and pisses himself and falls down and then she’s cleaning him up instead of basking in her moment and her dad gets mad at him, etc. So that was the impetus for him to go to rehab, and he does and she visits him and he’s so sad and sorry but she doesn’t care because she loves him.

Then he comes home and it feels like they get ONE FUCKING DAY of happiness before her manager who I hate (my takeway from this is that all managers are evil and I never want one and now I understand why a lot of famous people’s managers are their mom & shit because who else can you trust????) basically tells Jack that he’s bringing Ally down and it’d be better for her career if she wasn’t with him so he KILLS HIMSELF and obviously that’s not the best thing and it’s devastating and she sings a tribute love song that he wrote for her and then I think it ends (I saw it like 4 days ago and I already forgot).

One thing I did appreciate was that they didn’t do this suicide porn thing that’s been happening since the dawn of time where they just WALLOW in the details and show all this shit- they don’t even really show his body except a slice through the garage door window. They also don’t show her processing or finding out, the next scene is after it’s been a little bit. They don’t show her finding him and I actually loved that choice.

Something that’s been pointed out by people I like and respect is how parasitic they portray her success, like as soon as she starts to rise he starts to fall and it makes it seem like that was a cause of it, not like alcoholism is a serious disease that’s no one’s fault and that was gross because women’s success isn’t a detriment to their partners actually even though sometimes people can turn it into that, but that’s on you!!

Gaga did have a lovely cadre of gays and I am forever happy that she gives opportunities/voice to the lgbtq community because they made her who she is and it’s good to honor/not forget that. Obviously I did not *love* that a huge narrative of this movie is that she’s “not pretty enough” bc she is literally a thin white woman who fits every standard of beauty except she just has a big nose and maybe that’s why she was a good choice to replace Streisand, but it can’t be good for anyone to watch that and have everyone agree, “Yeah she’s not a looker” and then think about what that means for you, but every movie isn’t going to save the world I guess.

I have not read the article about Bradley Cooper wiping the makeup off her face in the audition, but I’m sure I would hate it. As we are incredibly aware, just because you can make good art (I did like this movie) doesn’t mean in any way you are a person to be trusted or good at all. I’m sure if I was at a dinner party with Bradley Cooper and intersectional feminism came up there would be some wincing on my part, but that’s just a hunch, maybe he’s Good. No clue.

I do wish someone had told me how sad it was? I thought it was just gonna be one of these musical dramas with a little arc and then a little bow on the end and maybe a shot of them singing their song as old has beens while the next hot young thing makes it, I was NOT emotionally prepared for what I went through and I had to eat an entire pizza afterwards to get over it. Also I hate the poster, the poster is ugly.

4/6 guitar string wedding rings, would masturbate again.

 

 

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